04 august Sofia (BULGARIA)

I was thinking about the history of these two Countries: Bulgaria and Romania, how much they have suffered during the Communist regime, how much they are fighting to raise their situation up.

Even if I haven't lived it but, listening to the tales of the old people, it's like I have turned back the time till 50's, when Italy (in the post-war period) tried to solve all its problems... I'm still impressed when we pass across small villages forgotten by God, with roads without asphalt, where there are houses-huts with leaf roof or donkeys, horses, turkeys and chickens that walk undisturbed and indifferent at everything and everybody, maybe at life itself too. In these small villages, the only good thing has been the smile of an old woman who greeted a young foreigner from the window of a train... This is the image that I want to keep of Bulgaria, the kindness and the respect that we have received by many people we have met should be a lesson for everybody...

And we, more mature and full of new "life lessons", fill them in our life back pack...

I was thinking that the best way to know a new Country is just travelling by train, thanks to it you enter her inner soul, you discover and admire her natural beauties, criticise and disregard her defects...

Bulgaria is different, I'm almost sorry for her, it alternates very romantic landscapes at real "scrawl" of the building trade, you can often wacth huge and abandoned buildings, destroyed, hated by everybody: marble, coal, lime mines...

Communism: right principles... but pure and simple theory...

 

 

05 august Bucharest (ROMANIA)

Bucharest, Romanian capital, it seems a city built for a giant, many huge buildings, there is the greatest civilian building in the world... "The People building", classical example of Communist architecture...

This city impresses me very much, it's different from the idea I had of it, it looks richer than Bulgaria, teenagers dress trendy and, in the city center, there aren't only the old "Dacia" but also many modern and expensive cars!

We walk around in spite of the sultry heat, we visit many Orthodox churches and meet many interesting people but, in the evening, we leave again.

[Harmony Larson from San Diego, USA]: "Guys, I loved so many things about all of you. I will take the magic of these moments with me to America... Holding them in my heart until we meet again"...

Now we are crossing Transylvania, we are in Dracula's town: Brasov.

Matthew, our Canadian/Israeli friend has just got down and we have been very tempted to go with him...

But in the end we decide not to leave our faithful Dutch friends! Tomorrow we will be in Budapest, who knows!

[Rossho]: "I'm trying to fall asleep even if, here, I' d better avoid it because there are many gyspies who enter the compartments and rob everything".

 

06 august Budapest (HUNGARY)

Travelling is so good, you feed everyday of new experiences but real food!

We arrive early in the morning in this new city. They are setting the stalls for the public market along the streets.

We decide to go to the river, the famous and decanted: Danube.

The city center is very elegant: squares, churches, ancient buildings are the background of our "tour". As I was excepting, here we find another culture and civilization, different from all the ones we have seen so far, we knew that once in Hungary we would have entered Europe too!

Just one problem, after saying good bye to Haasso and Anneke who are going to spend some more day here and, while Rossho and Takx are doing some food shopping, a group of Albanian starts to buzz me around, I am looking after three back packs, documents and money too... Meanwhile Takx is disappeared and we have just realized that we will get to Zagreb, in Croatia, at midnight and we don't know where we will sleep yet...

07 august Zagreb (CROAZIA)

At Zagreb railway station we meet a group of nine guys from Milan who have their train at 5.30 to Budapest so they would have slept there.

We join them... Takx soon falls asleep... Rossho resists a bit more but when they start talking about music that he doesn't like he soon dives into Morpheus' arms... I resist till one o'clock, then I fall asleep as well (with pleasure!)

Early in the morning, sitting on a nice English garden near the city center, eating our breakfast, we are ready for a bright new day! We enjoy a nice walk in the main square, the flower market, the fruit one, so relaxing!

In few hours Rossho is going to abandon us...

[Rossho]: "Dear readers, the story is about to change. Me, Rossho, I'm going to abandon the inter rail "in the middle of our journey"...

Destiny calls me, after Ljubljana I will cast off these two guys. I'm sorry to leave them alone because they're unskilled and young, easy booty for all the thieves of this world, but it will help them!

Damn, It's been so good. I would never imagine an inter rail like this! Hard but healty. Ten days full of so many precious things to remember.

Different places not the usual happy and smiling ones...

I saw poverty as an accepted life style and lived with quietness maybe because it's so widespread.

Sleeping at the railway station has been a very cool thing! "We will see later" and "we will manage" two key words of this trip!"

08 august Ljubljana (SLOVENIA)

So Rossho leaves us...

He catches a train from Ljubljana that will take him directly to Italy.

As for Ljubljana, maybe too quiet to be a capital. It's an Alpine city: quiet, not crowded, full of old people, surrounded by high mountains where you can breathe pure air and with many bikes around instead of cars.

I didn't like when I saw four gypsies, in the main square, swimming in the main fountain and robbing all the coins that the tourists had just thrown, as tradition, and no one did anything to avoid it.

Meanwhile we are going away, in one hour we have our train which will take us across all Austria for nine hours and we don't even have the ticket (at least we try!)

Without ticket because Austria doesn't belong to the area we have bought. What is going to happen? You will know soon.

Rossho will sleep quietly tomorrow night in a comfortable bed, with his stomach full, what about us?

09 august Bratislava (SLOVAKIA)

After leaving Rossho in Ljubljana, station we depart to Willach, in Austria.

We arrive at destination at about 11 p.m., the railway station is huge and populated just by drunk and thieves at that time of the night. All the doors are closed and we are the only "tourists" over there. We have to wait more than three hours there. I confess I'm a bit scared, moreover we don't have the train ticket too.

At 1.21 am we enter the train... There are no empty seats! We sit along the corridor and we wait about ten minutes when the controllers appear.

They check very meticulously our inter rail ticket and they soon realize that Austria doesn't belong to our itinerary... They order us to pay, we discuss a bit but when we understand that there is nothing to do, before they call the police, we pay the expensive bill of 77000 Italian Liras each, so we pay till Vienna.

In spite of the expensive ticket, our situation doesn't change.

We are still sitting on our back packs along the corridor and every two minutes we have to get up and let the people pass to go to the WC... At 6.30 a.m. we are in the Austrian capital but just for few minutes, we soon leave to Bratislava!

We want to keep on till Prague to be closer to our final destination: Baltic States, but someone tells us that, maybe, we need another visa for Lithuania.

We have to know for sure so we run till Italian Embassy to get more information... Nooooo! There is a such long queue of Slovakians who ask for the visa to Italy, luckily there is a door reserved just for us. They tell us that we don't need any visa... we don't trust them, but we decide to try all the same...

Meanwhile we leave for Warsaw, Poland.

"As many travellers I have seen much more than I remember and I remember more than I have seen."

- Benjamin Disraeli -

10 august Warsaw ( POLAND)

Yesterday: what a very bad day: Rossho's departure, Willach drunkards, the bill in Austria, the hard night in the train, all the problems for Lithuanian visa, but now I feel better! Thanks to two Portuguese guys met at n Bratislava railway station and with whom we have spent the transfer till Poland. After so long, last night, I had some rest thanks to Pedro who has looked after us! I appreciated that a lot.

Warsaw is a nice city but nothing special, full of factories, it reminds me of a Milan of twenty years ago. We visit the city center, the President's house and we enjoy the main square.

[Pedro Daniel Aguiar Lopes from Porto, Portugal]: "Can I travel with you to Warsaw?" This is how I met a Mafia guy during the inter rail. I hope we will meet soon on this road"...

Tonight we will go to Krakow. We will sleep there and tomorrow morning we will go to the impressive Auschwitz. I'm excited.

 

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